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Thread: A fatality near my home yesterday ...

  1. #1
    What's that noise...? basketcase's Avatar
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    Unhappy A fatality near my home yesterday ...

    A half mile from my home on Sunday afternoon, April 3, a new rider was killed when an auto driver pulled into his path in a Toyota 4-Runner. Regrettably, the rider swerved ‘«Ű not away from, but into the line of travel of the SUV, resulting in a T-bone collision.

    The rider had purchased the bike three (3) days earlier from a custom paint and motorcycling shop located less than 100 yards from where the accident occurred. The motorcycle was a cruiser style bike.

    The accident investigation revealed that the cage driver initially ‘«£inflated‘«ō his story about the motorcyclist‘«÷s speed, but he later changed his story when eyewitnesses noted the rider had just made a U-turn and could not have achieved a high rate of speed. The newspaper report put the motorcyclist‘«÷s speed at 35-50 mph, well within the posted limits for the stretch of highway.

    But high speed or not, the fact is the motorcyclist is dead because an SUV pulled into his path, and he (1) T-boned the cage, and (2) body slammed said cage at speed, and (3) was wearing a minimal helmet. His skull was shattered, and cerebral matter was protruding from the injury when witnesses arrived on the scene. The cage driver, a male, was not injured.

    My oldest child went to high school with the young man, and he is the first of her class to die like this. She came upon the accident on her way home from church. As noted above, the physical damage was extreme, and thankfully, the rider had already been covered with a sheet. Even so, she is dealing with the visual trauma of seeing his body on the pavement, legs and arms sticking out from under the cover, with blood staining the place where his face once was.

    A Gold Winger friend called me about it the accident. When my cell-phone rang, I was on the Florida panhandle driving back from a funeral for an elderly aunt. My friend, on his way out to enjoy the afternoon when he came upon the accident, promptly turned around and went back home.

    Driving into town late Sunday, I observed the accident investigator's paint marks, and the sand covering the fluid stains on the road surface. Anytime I leave going north I have to ride past the same series of retail access drives to the highway. So this comes as a grim reminder that it can happen to any of us -- and literally "in our own front door."

    My thought is that if you happen to know a new rider, by all means belabor the points about speed, safety, and vigilance. The riding season is here, and there will be many new riders on the roads in the coming months. Additionally, we have a number of new riders frequenting this board. I hope they all see this post.

    To close this rambling diatribe, I cannot help but wonder if the lessons of a rider course might have made a difference. It is too late to save the life of the young man who died yesterday, so in a way it is just another useless question. But his death does not have to fade from memory as a useless occurrence. While I did not know him, I do know several other new riders, and I plan to put forth the effort to emphatically "make the point" by way of the object lesson this accident provides.
    Last edited by basketcase; 04-05-2005 at 09:19 PM. Reason: Added additional information
    '98 BMW Z3 Roadster, '00 R1100RT

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  2. #2
    USERNAME
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    that is tragic.

    preach the gospel of taking an MSF course, and being ATGATT.

  3. #3
    Loose Cannon flash412's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RickM
    The rider swerved ‘«Ű not away from, but into the line of travel of the SUV, resulting in a T-bone collision.
    I'll hazard a guess that he never heard of counter-steering. There is a LOT to be said for rider education.

    (By the way... you can't spell "education" without "Ducati.")
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  4. #4
    dlearl476
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    >I'll hazard a guess that he never heard of counter-steering.

    Or the concept of the moto going EXACTLY where the eyes are looking.

    I've found it pretty easy to tell when someone with NO moto experience expresses interest in one of my bikes. I make a big point out of stressing rider education as a MUST to anyone who will listen. What more can I do, after that it's up to Darwin.

  5. #5
    Registered User jgr451's Avatar
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    Thanks for letting us all know Rick.I hear ya.
    Sometimes,nothing is a real cool hand.

  6. #6
    Rally Rat TZOLK's Avatar
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    Thats Horrible, Flat out.
    The first Fatality I saw was in 98. I took a customers bike out for post tune-up test ride and was stuck in traffic on a major local road. When we got up to the obsticle ,a sheet was covering a man and woman who T-Boned a car that pulled out of a parking lot crossing their path. They were on their way to a Harley Rally in Fowlerville MI.

    In the fall of 03' we responded to the scene of a couple on an electra glide classic that hit a car that turned left infront of them on a major road in Northville MI laced with Retail stores. The 80 + year old women driver asked if she had hit anything. The couple were thrown about 50 feet beyond the sedan. The pilot-The Man- was scuffed, walking wounded type. His passenger, his wife was not so lucky. It was a very morbid scene.........

    Last Fall, on the same day Here in Plymouth, there was a chilli cookoff and poker run and Two accidents minutes apart. Both Harley riders. The first was this guy in his 70's who was the "road guard" for this Harley group. Apparently he was at the back of the pack and decided he needed to get to the front so he could stop traffic(asinine). Well this lifetime rider decided to cross over a double yellow uphill into a blind peak. He hit a jeep wrangler that came over the hill in its own lane and took oout its front left wheel assembly and two other riders( just scuffed).

    Minutes later across town, on scene again, a lady on an electraglide classic Reportedly is hallin and loses control and schmucks a truck. You could smell the alcohol in the bloody vomit that pored out of her during chest compressions. Fatality. Oh yeah, she was wearing one of those "DOT" approved skull caps.

    A guy on a hog here on M-14 ,the freeway ,lost control hauling butt when his lane merged into the right lane and he remained on what was now a gravel infested shoulder "trying to shoot ahead" of cars. The "DOT" approved skull cap sure looked cool but it didnt save his life from the severe head trauma.

    Last fall my Gal and I are cruising Here on Hines Drive( 40 mph) and we were about to pass this lady in a White Explorer stationary in the on-coming lane waiting for us to pass so she can turn left. Ok, nothing wrong here you say. Well coming up behind her at probably 40-45 was a dude on an Electraglide classic, Black helmet-Black jacket- DUH! and he was visible for about an eighth of a mile behind her. Well ,he must have decided to watch the scenery or other people looking at him and ignore the huge white explorer stopped in his lane way up ahead. When I started to pass the Explorer he disappeared from my sight and I heard brakes locking up right before he rear ended this SUV( now theres a first!!) He wasnt badly hurt, but shaken and the bike was crunched and leaking oil. We stopped to help. Full of adrenaline he asked what the hell that lady was doing and " Hell, Its only a 30 thousand dollar bike". He had the tone of it was completely her fault for sitting there and waiting for us to pass, and we thank her for waiting. The lady said she was watching him come up behind her at a pretty good clip and thought about turning left to avoid him rear ending her. Thank God she didnt. Afterwards I was thankfull that he didnt swerve into the oncoming lane to avoid her cause he would have headoned me.

    another two motorcyclists were killed in our service area because they both went over the centerline on a two lane curvy road and headoned eachother-Talk about Bad luck!

    Its ruthless out there folks, flat out. Riding in town is no fun. Youre on the constant defensive all the time. Theres no "Romance" and Idealism. Thats for those land sharks to fantasize about when they see you pass by.
    Last edited by TZOLK; 04-05-2005 at 06:02 AM.

  7. #7
    Registered User einnar's Avatar
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    I've worked search and rescue, as an EMT/K-9 handler, and have seen quite a few bike accidents too. They are all morbid reminders that due care is absolutely necessary, and it starts with proper training. (Continues with refreshers, and/or advanced training too. )

    I've convinced people who've been riding for years to go take the MSF courses, and they've all told me they learned something. It's worth it in the long run, to let other bikers know about them.

    Tragic to hear about things like this.

    - Some say the glass is half empty, some say the glass is half full, I say, are you going to drink that? - Lisa Clayman
    - A bank is a place where they lend you an umbrella in fair weather and ask for it back when it begins to rain. --Robert Frost

  8. #8
    Registered User amiles's Avatar
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    A new or returning rider who is too cool and/or ignorant to take a rider course must increase his risk factor many times over. Perhaps the deadly male macho gene (every "real" man knows how to ride a bike) is at work here.

    I have heard it claimed that many cruiser riders (and probably other bike riders as well) hold dearly to the theory that use of the front brake is dangerous and should be avoided at all costs.

    The local Police Chief was quoted in the paper to the effect that he had been at the scene of many accidents of the failure to yield left turn in front of a motorcycle type. Long skid/scuff tire marks at the scene almost always revealed rear braking only. He felt that many of these accidents would have been avoided had the operator fully utilized the braking capability of their machine.

    I don't know about the beginner courses, but in the ERC classes that I have attended, very heavy use of the front brake was practiced.

    There should be a warm place in hell for those who produce and promote the use of the fake DOT stickers and novelty helmets to evade the laws on helmets. Along with those who claim that helmet use is worse than not wearing one. You can't evade the laws of physics.

  9. #9
    Stressed Member jmerlino's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by A Miles
    I don't know about the beginner courses, but in the ERC classes that I have attended, very heavy use of the front brake was practiced.
    When I took the beginner's course last year, it was heavily stressed that both brakes should be used. The statistic that 70% of your braking power comes from the front brake was repeated several times.

    When I was out riding last week, I came up upon a guy and his kid riding two up on a H-D somethingorother. The were both wearing street clothes and brain-buckets. The kid's "helmet" had a sticker on it that said, "Worn under protest". That parental responsibility for you, eh?
    --Joe Merlino - Modified '82 R100RT

  10. #10
    SNC1923
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    Unhappy

    Quote Originally Posted by A Miles
    A new or returning rider who is too cool and/or ignorant to take a rider course must increase his risk factor many times over. Perhaps the deadly male macho gene (every "real" man knows how to ride a bike) is at work here.
    You couldn't be more right, AM. It really saddens me to read these posts about new or returning (or experienced, for that matter) riders dying in crashes.

    I just returned to riding (last Sept. 1) to riding after a 15 year hiatus. I'm ATGATT--a concept I learned from Kbasa on this very message board. Took an ERC last month. It's amazing how much that 6 hour course has impacted my riding habits and style. Should have taken it much sooner. Need to take another one soon.

    I'm with username: preach that gospel to other riders.

  11. #11
    Registered User DLilah's Avatar
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    Those are some very sad stories.

    I am a new rider with only a little over a year under my belt, and I am very thankful for the MSF course. Not only did I do that, but I also have spent many times practicing my skills in parking lots (a suggestion of my MSF trainers and my husband) and have been reading books on motorcycle skills (David Hough and Keith Code books) and watching videos. I believe the more I learn, the safer I will be. I also am a firm believer of ATGATT, something I not only learned in my MSF course but from many of you on this forum. I also preach all of that to anyone that will listen (some won't listen, no matter how hard you try). That's all we can do. At least we all try to prevent some of these tragedies.

    The thing that bothers me the most is how many riders (in my area, anyway) drink and ride. That is just a deadly combination. I cannot imagine how anyone can think this is possible. It takes a lot of concentration and good reflexes to safely ride a motorcycle, both of which are severely impaired by alcohol. A good majority of the motorcycle accidents reported around here involve alcohol. It's very sad!!!

  12. #12
    Stressed Member jmerlino's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by D'Lilah
    The thing that bothers me the most is how many riders (in my area, anyway) drink and ride. That is just a deadly combination. I cannot imagine how anyone can think this is possible. It takes a lot of concentration and good reflexes to safely ride a motorcycle, both of which are severely impaired by alcohol. A good majority of the motorcycle accidents reported around here involve alcohol. It's very sad!!!
    Yeah. I always get a twinge when I pass a bar and see a bunch of bikes parked out front.
    --Joe Merlino - Modified '82 R100RT

  13. #13
    Registered User amiles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jmerlino
    Yeah. I always get a twinge when I pass a bar and see a bunch of bikes parked out front.
    In this neck of the woods it seems that every saloon has bikes out front for permanent decoration. I enjoy adult beverages as much or more than most people, but I am moved to wonder as I ride by on a beautiful day:

    Why in such nice weather someone would rather be in a dumpy bar instead of riding?

    why more of these "bikers" aren't dead from accidents after drinking in a saloon all afternoon?

    Why do they need a motorcycle to drive from home to tavern & back?

    In truth just one beer alone effects our quality of motorcycle operation. I believe in what the MSF instructor claimed was their policy "that the two activities should remain separate". Besides I'm too cheap to pay their prices in exchange for getting to watch a bunch of moronic bar-flies do their stupid thing.

    Our "Bike Week" will be here soon (mid May) I wonder what hi-jinks the attendees will be up to that will add more luster to the sterling reputation of those of us who ride motorcycles in the area full time.

    Perhaps a toy ride or two in attonement will help?

  14. #14
    Stressed Member jmerlino's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by A Miles
    In truth just one beer alone effects our quality of motorcycle operation. I believe in what the MSF instructor claimed was their policy "that the two activities should remain separate". Besides I'm too cheap to pay their prices in exchange for getting to watch a bunch of moronic bar-flies do their stupid thing.
    I'm a big believer in "Ride first, drink later."

    I'm a musician, and for years I've had a policy that I will not drink before a performance. I've had experiences where just one or two beers was enough to slow down the reaction time of my fingers to the point where I couldn't play effectively. And it's weird because that much alcohol doesn't really affect the way I feel much, so I'm pretty much just looking at my fingers, going "Work, dammit!"

    Anyway, ever since I realized what was going on, I've enjoyed a strict policy that says alcohol is for *after* the set. Not before.

    And I figure if that's the case with music, driving and riding are pretty much in the same catagory. I mean, with music, the worst thing that's going to happen is a bad performance. With riding, I could die.

    And I'm not anti-drinking by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, I brew my own beer, and for a while I had considered becoming a certified judge for the American Homebrewer's Association. (Decided against it just because of the hassle factor.) I also enjoy a good wine or whisky.

    Anyway. The point is. 1) Ride bike, 2) park bike, 3) enjoy beverage in that order.
    --Joe Merlino - Modified '82 R100RT

  15. #15
    Rally Rat MarkF's Avatar
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    When I go for a ride - I ride! My friends (mostly HD riders) tell me they went for a ride then go on to describe the bars they hit. That ain't for me so I don't ride with them. If I wanna drink I find a campground or rally and ride there. Nothing better than drinking around a campfire with fellow riders.

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